Real Estate News

    • Pros and Cons of Having Your Kids Sleep in Bunk Beds

      6 August 2020

      If your house has limited space, your kids may have to share a room. Bunk beds can help you make the best use of available space and give your family options in the future, but there are possible problems to take into consideration.

      More Space for Play and Storage
      Young children need lots of space to play, as well as room for a toy box, shelves and dressers. With two single beds taking up valuable floor space, the rest of the room can feel cramped. With bunk beds, you could maximize the use of vertical space and make the entire room feel bigger. In addition, many bunk bed designs feature built-in drawers and shelves where kids can arrange their belongings.

      Privacy and Independence
      For kids who share a bedroom, privacy can be hard to come by. With bunk beds, each child will have an individual space to read, do homework, write, draw or sleep. If your kids have different sleeping schedules, the overhead light can be off, and one child can use a clip-on lamp.

      Sleeping Options
      If you have one child who invites friends to sleepovers or a young relative often comes to visit, a guest can sleep on a bunk bed instead of on a couch or an air mattress. Some bunk beds have a built-in trundle bed that can be stored underneath and pulled out if a third bed is needed.

      Many bunk beds are designed so they can be separated. If you move to a larger house or build an addition with another bedroom in the future, you won’t have to buy your kids separate twin beds.

      Parents often worry about the possibility of a child falling from a bunk bed. Rolling out of bed while sleeping shouldn’t be an issue as long as the top bunk has railings on each side, and they are undamaged and securely attached.

      Falling while climbing the ladder is a more likely possibility. The child on the top bunk should be at least 6 years old and must be able to safely climb up and down. Regularly check the ladder to make sure it’s secure. Explain to your kids that horsing around on the bunk beds is dangerous and not allowed. Strictly enforce that rule.

      Other Potential Problems
      Making the bed on the top bunk can be tricky. You may need to help until the child who sleeps on top gets the hang of it.

      Some kids feel claustrophobic when they start sleeping on a bottom bunk. If your child is uncomfortable, consider moving the bunk beds away from walls so there is open space on all sides.

      Are Bunk Beds Right for Your Family?
      Bunk beds can give your kids more room to play, privacy and independence, but they can be dangerous if not used correctly. If you’re considering buying bunk beds, ask yourself if your kids are old enough and, if so, have a clear and direct conversation about rules and safety.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Reasons You Should Microchip Your Pet

      6 August 2020

      Millions of pets go missing each year, and many are never reunited with their owners. If your pet has a collar and a tag engraved with its name and your contact information, the tag may become damaged and difficult to read, or the collar may fall off or be removed, making it impossible for someone who might find your pet to contact you. Microchipping is a simple solution.

      How Does Microchipping Work?
      A microchip is an electronic chip around the size of a grain of rice that is enclosed in a glass cylinder. A veterinarian can insert a microchip under a pet’s skin using a hypodermic needle that is a bit larger than a needle used for an injection. The process can be performed at a routine office visit, doesn’t cause any more pain than a typical injection and doesn’t require anesthesia.

      Each microchip has a registration number and each manufacturer has a database that stores pet owners’ contact information. Some manufacturers also let owners include pets’ medical information. A microchip doesn’t contain a GPS and can’t track a pet’s location.

      If your pet gets lost and someone finds it and takes it to a veterinary office or animal shelter, an employee can scan the animal. When a scanner passes over the area where the microchip is located, the scanner emits radio waves that activate the chip, and the chip transmits its identification number to the scanner. The employee can then access your contact information and notify you that your pet has been found. If you get your pet microchipped, be sure to complete the registration and keep your contact information up to date.

      Most veterinary offices and animal shelters have handheld readers that can scan microchips, but several systems are used and they work at different frequencies. The International Standards Organization has recommended a global standard. You’ll have the best chance of being reunited with a lost pet if you choose an ISO microchip.

      Is There a Risk to Microchipping?
      A small number of pets have experienced adverse reactions to microchips, such as swelling, infection and hair loss. A handful have developed tumors, but in many of those cases it wasn’t clear that the microchip was the cause.

      Sometimes a microchip migrates away from the site where it was implanted, which can make it difficult to read. When you take your pet to the veterinarian for routine exams, ask an employee to scan the microchip to make sure it can be detected.

      Talk to Your Veterinarian
      Losing a pet and not knowing what happened to it can be devastating for anyone, but particularly for children. A microchip can dramatically increase the odds of being reunited with your pet. Since a microchip is inserted under the skin, it can’t be lost or separated from the pet, so the animal will always be identifiable. The cost is relatively low compared to the potential emotional effects of losing your four-legged friend. If your pet hasn’t been microchipped, discuss it with your veterinarian.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Creative Ways to Use That Spare Bedroom

      6 August 2020

      If you’re lucky enough to have a spare bedroom, you may want to think of it less as a rarely used landing spot for guests or a place to store extra ‘stuff,’ and more as a blank canvas - a pleasant spot you can use for rest, relaxation, hobbies or exercise, or even as a money-making option.

      Consider these inspiring ideas from room designers and creative thinkers:

      • Get crafty - Do you sew occasionally? Like to draw or paint? Love to do amazing gift-wraps? Fill the room with smart choices of furnishings, storage, tables and accessories to make your hobby more fun than ever.
      • Make it personal - Turn the room into a ma’am- or man-cave, with comfy furnishings, a TV and sound system and anything else you need to make it a cozy, personal retreat.
      • Make it a study - Create a cheerful home office space where you or your kids can pay bills, read online or study without interruption. Install a work counter/desk across one wall, add enough chairs and supply drawers, plus computers and printers as needed. 
      • Build your own library - Book lovers can line the walls with shelving, collect books to their heart’s content, install a chair or two and some great reading light, and revel in a private library. 
      • Make music - For parents and/or kids with a passion for making music, lay down thick carpeting to soak up sound, add a few comfy floor cushions for musically inclined visitors and make room to jam with friends or solo with as many instruments as you wish. 
      • Start a garden - Wish you had a greenhouse? You can cultivate seedlings in that spare room from the waning days of winter through early spring. Buy ready-made shelving and add light fixtures and supplies appropriate for nurturing baby plants.
      • Sweat it out - Whether you practice yoga, run or do strength training, you'll be more motivated, better disciplined and more excited about your workouts in a dedicated exercise space. Drag that treadmill out of the basement, add all the exercise equipment you want and go!
      • Airbnb it - Make a few extra bucks by renting out your guest room through Airbnb. Outfit the space with attractive towels, linens and toiletries, and make sure your home's Wi-Fi password is prominently displayed.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Quick Tips to Make Your Room Look Bigger

      5 August 2020

      Small spaces have their own charm and challenges, but every home--regardless of size--can benefit from visually adding space. Thankfully, there are a few key tricks to making your rooms look bigger that are easy to implement.

      Scale Down
      This may be obvious, but a massive couch will swallow a small room. If your room is small, or you would simply like to maximize your empty space, opt for smaller furniture and even smaller art. Keep everything appropriate for the scale of the room.

      Use Vertical Space
      Keep your floor uncluttered by using vertical space instead. Opt against horizontal storage options like large trunks or long dressers. Strategically staged tall bookcases and tall dressers can serve to house items without compromising your floor space

      Go for Minimalist Style
      Too many items in a small room looks cluttered, even if it’s organized. Lean towards a minimalist aesthetic to ensure that you are not visually cramping your space.

      Bring in the Light
      A well-lit room feels airy and spacious even if it’s small. Avoid light-blocking curtains and blinds whenever possible and try to keep the room bright. For the evenings, add track lighting, recessed lighting or more lamps to keep the space looking roomy and inviting.

      Go for Sleek Furniture
      Clunky and bulky furniture of the past should be avoided in a small space. Instead, seek out the sleek look of mid-century modern furniture. This style works very well in a small space because it’s elongating lines elevate the room and the furniture itself takes up less square footage.

      Keep Your Color Scheme Minimal
      Bright and dazzling colors have their place, but that may not be in your small room. Light, softer hues work better to keep a room looking spacious and airy and a monochromatic color scheme keeps your space from looking too visually stimulating and cluttered.

      Preventing a cluttered and claustrophobic feel should be the goal in any sized room. And while adding extra square footage may be a task for your next renovation project, there are easy ways you can make your room look bigger in the meantime.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • New Food Trends Can Save Time and Money

      5 August 2020

      (Family Features) As families continue to adjust their meal routines amidst a worldwide pandemic, there are trends you and your loved ones can follow to improve your general health, maintain a budget and spend more time together.

      Home cooking: According to a study conducted by Hunter Public Relations on how COVID-19 has changed home cooking, 54% of Americans are cooking more and 50% have more confidence in the kitchen. Many, perhaps for the first time, found that cooking at home and learning cooking techniques could be a fun family activity.

      Trusting frozen: Frozen foods have seen a renaissance in 2020. Many families discovered that new technologies allow frozen foods to deliver innovations in flavors, recipes, authenticity and affordability without compromising taste. For example, Aqua Star’s frozen Cutting Board Meal Kits are available at grocers nationwide and feature full chef-inspired meals like Chipotle Shrimp Street Tacos and Southwest Chili-Lime Tilapia.

      Saving money: It’s common knowledge for many consumers that eating at or ordering takeout from a restaurant is more expensive than cooking at home. Eating at home showed families just how much they could save, and this trend is likely to continue. According to a Simon-Kucher Restaurants Survey, 26% of consumers who ate meals from casual restaurants before the pandemic anticipate eating meals primarily at home for up to a year after lockdown.

      More seafood: According to a national survey by Aqua Star, one of the country’s largest seafood companies, 75% of Americans want to eat more seafood. Seafood provides nutritional benefits for a multitude of recipes, but many people don’t know how to prepare it. One of the easiest ways to introduce your family to seafood is through familiar comfort food recipes and convenient one-pan meals.

      Online grocery shopping: Nearly daily trips to the grocery store can be an expensive habit since impulse buying is a bane to healthy eating and saving money. As online grocery shopping grows in popularity, it provides families with a convenient, time-saving way to keep must-haves on hand without overspending at the store.

      Dinners with family: After years of families grabbing meals on the run, sheltering in place has brought many back to the dining room table. For a simple family meal that focuses on frozen seafood and pantry staples, try this recipe for Shrimp Scampi that involves just a few steps of preparation that can even allow kids to help in the process. If you don’t have time to cook, Aqua Star’s Shrimp Scampi MicroSteam Bowl is a simple way to enjoy the same flavors in minutes, from the microwave, with no clean-up required.

      Find more at-home seafood solutions at

      Shrimp Scampi
      Cook time: 20 minutes
      Servings: 4

      • 8 ounces pasta linguine
      • 2 tablespoons butter
      • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
      • 4 garlic cloves, minced
      • 1/2 cup dry white wine or seafood broth
      • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
      • 1 dash crushed red pepper flakes
      • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
      • 1 1/2 pounds large or extra-large Aqua Star shrimp, shelled
      • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
      • 1/2 lemon, juice only

      Cook pasta according to package directions. 

      In a large skillet, melt butter and oil. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add wine or broth, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Bring to simmer and reduce by half.

      Add shrimp and saute until shrimp turn pink and opaque, approximately 2-4 minutes depending on size. Stir in parsley, lemon juice and cooked pasta.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.